The State Government has introduced changes to regulations around safety barriers and fencing for private swimming pools and spas to reduce incidences of young children drowning.
The legislation now requires all private swimming pools and spas to be registered with their local Council.
The new regulations start from 1 December 2019 with all owners of existing swimming pools and spas required to register their pool with Council. Pool and spa owners have until 1 June 2020 to register.
The new regulations now make the owner the primary person responsible for registering their pool or spa, with a requirement to engage a qualified person to perform inspections, and lodge proof of compliance resulting from that inspection with Council within the required timeframe. Periodic mandatory inspections will also be required.
Why are the regulations changing?
Between January 2000 and May 2019 there were 27 fatal drownings of young children in private swimming pools and spas in Victoria.
The registration of a pool or spas is mandatory under the new regulations. In addition, owners will be required to engage a registered building surveyor or building inspector to inspect and certify the compliance of their safety barrier every 4 years. Under the regulations, the need for registration would also include relocatable swimming pools and spas erected for more than three consecutive days.
Currently, Council has responsibility under s212 of the Building Act 1993 to administer and enforce the Act and regulations. In addition, Council also undertakes approximately 170 pro-active random swimming pool inspections per year.
What are the new regulations
All permanent pools and spas and most relocatable ones capable of holding water to a depth greater than 30cm must be registered.
- inflatable pools
- above ground pools
- indoor pools
- hot tubs
- bathing or wading pools
Start your registration process
Register your swimming pool or spa online:
Register your swimming pool or spa
If you receive an error message, please select the 'Home' button, go to Licences and select New licence.
Permits for swimming pools and spas
Permits for swimming pools and spas fit mainly into two groups. Building permits for installing a pool and building permits for installing a pool safety barrier.
You will always need a permit for a pool deep enough to drown a small child. It only takes a depth of 30 centimetres (30cm) of water, and a few unguarded seconds for a small child to lose their life.
You should not need a planning permit in addition to your building permit for the installation of a pool. Unless, your property is on a block of land less than 500m2 in size or subject to an Overlay such as the Land Subject in Inundation Overlay or the Heritage overlay.
The installation of a permanent swimming pool or spa requires a building permit, regardless if it is located inside or outside your residence. Indoor spas are not subject to the full safety regulations relating to swimming pools.
All outside swimming pools and spas greater than 30 centimetres in depth (30cm) require all the necessary pool safety barrier requirements. While you do not need a building permit to set up a temporary relocatable pool, like a wading pool, if your pool is greater than 30cm in depth be prepared to put up safety barriers. A building permit is required to construct these pool safety barriers.
Please see the relevant information in the Royal Life Saving Society Home Pool Safety Checklist for details of what you need for your pool to be considered safe.
If your temporary wading pool is less than 30cm in depth you do not need a building permit. But when small children are playing around water, even very shallow water, always play it safe. Always make sure children are supervised at all times.
Victorian Building Authority Swimming Pool and Spa changes
State Government announcement
Please contact Council on 9518 3555 if you have any questions regarding pool and spa safety requirements.